Back to Basics
In case you haven't followed the past few blogs, I started a new clinical on Monday after having spent six months in an inpatient rehab setting. I'm now interning at an outpatient center where the patient population spans the entire gamut -- orthopedics, neurological, cardiopulmonary, post-op, chronic pain, worker's comp etc. With all of the variation, I feel like I have to go back to the very basics of musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary PT just to be semi-functional and relatively independent.
One of the more intimidating parts of this switch is that I understandably am being held to a higher standard with higher expectations, which means the facility is looking to build my caseload as quickly as possible. I felt overwhelmed just talking about my schedule for the upcoming week. I feel completely unprepared on certain days, which is a significant shift from how I felt when I left the hospital. In some ways, I thought I would have been able to accept an entry-level position with just a bit more practice. That's definitely not the case anymore.
One of the biggest adjustments I've had to make has to do with my evaluation skills. Whereas in the hospital a lot of the evaluative tools were screening measures for all systems, the outpatient world is much more focused on the specific musculoskeletal details causing or complicating certain deficits. I can't tell you the last time I measured someone's knee flexion ROM in prone. I can't imagine how many small details I've forgotten that are going to take some time to remember and implement regularly, which for now means my confidence levels are going to plummet back to the depths of second-year Lauren. Yikes.